Fr Brian writes;

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Cycle A. 5th July 2020. (Download PDF)

Arrangements for the resumption of Mass with a congregation.

I’m pleased to let you know that the celebration of Mass for parishioners of Hemel West parish, will start up again at our Boxmoor church of St Mary & St Joseph, as from Saturday 25th July, with the 6pm Mass. This is good news! St Mark’s will be used exclusively by those who are members of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, for the foreseeable future. The obligation of not having to attend Mass on a Sunday remains in place.  However, I am sure that many would like to attend Mass at some stage and receive holy communion. Therefore, to keep everyone safe whilst attending Mass we must ensure that we observe the social distancing rules issued by the government.  This means that we are limited in the numbers who can come to any particular Mass. Only 15 of the pews in the church can be used during Mass. So, we are introducing a booking scheme that allows “family bubbles”, of up to five people, to attend Mass, as each pew can seat a “family bubble” of up to five people. In addition, we need to keep a record of those who attend, so that if there is a case of Covid-19 we can alert everyone who may have been in contact.

There will be six Masses available each week: Saturday at 6:00pm; Sunday at 9am, 10:30am and 12 noon; Wednesday at 10am and Friday at 10am. Bookings will open seven days before the Mass is due and remain open until all the places available are booked. If you wish to book go to https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/hemelhempsteadwest/events/ select the Mass you want to attend and complete the booking. The booking is non-transferable but can be cancelled by contacting Shirley Bailey in the parish office on 01442 391 759.  The parish office can also make a booking on your behalf if you do not have access to the internet. Please play your part in spreading this news to those who do not have access to the internet and help them to make a booking, perhaps on their behalf.  You should only book one place per week, but each place is for a pew which seats a maximum of five people from the same “family bubble”. We anticipate that the weekend Masses will be the most popular so please consider booking a place at the weekday Masses, particularly if your “family bubble” is just one person. When you arrive at the Mass you have booked, you will be greeted by a Steward who will have a printout of all valid bookings and will check your name against this list.

There will be no unallocated pews so only attend the Mass that you have booked. I’m afraid that if you have not booked, you will not be allowed to attend Mass. This is regretful, but it is now part of our arrangements.

You will note some changes as to the way Mass will be celebrated. The ‘Prayer of the Faithful’ will be omitted and the homily will be much shorter than usual. There will be no congregational singing. After the prayer and its response “Behold the Lamb of God…Lord I am not worthy,” the priest will hold up the Host to the Congregation and say audibly “The Body of Christ” to which the people should respond “Amen.” In the same way, he elevates the chalice and says, “The Blood of Christ” and again the people respond “Amen.” The priest alone will receive Holy Communion under both kinds. Holy Communion will be distributed to those who wish to receive the Body of Christ,  at the end of Mass, after the dismissal. Communion will be given silently in the hand only (as I have been instructed by the bishop,) with the communicant standing, and avoiding any physical contact with the priest. So please approach the priest, with arms at “full stretch” so that there is a good distance between you and the priest. Palms must be upwards, one on top of the other, and extended as flatly as possible. Having received Communion please do not return to your seat but immediately leave the church making your financial contribution on the way out, unless you have given by the preferred method of Standing Order. Guidance will be given throughout Mass by the priest. Please also always follow instructions given by the steward and ensure social distancing with anyone not in your bubble. N.B Certain groups of people may be at increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19, including people who are aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions. Individuals who fall within this group are advised to stay at home as much as possible and, if they do go out, to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside of their household. The Mass schedule may change from time to time, especially if I am away during August, so Mass may not be available unless I can make other arrangements. We will have to live with a degree of uncertainty regarding our arrangements for some time, as we adjust to a new way of living, worshipping and being a parish in a dynamic and changing situation.

Arrangements for the resumption of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession)

Confessions will be heard in the Parish Centre, not the church, as follows:

Friday 10th July 7-8pm

Saturday 11th July 11-12pm

Call to Action!

I will need a couple of Stewards for each of the Masses listed above. You will need to be under 70. The steward checks people in for Mass, shows them to their pew and directs people during the Mass and then helps to wipe down the pew after Mass with some sanitising wipes. We have single use gloves and aprons available.  Do let me have your contact details i.e. name, email address and phone number. Let me know which Masses you are available for. You can email me on brianmcmahon@rcdow.org.uk

IMPORTANT!!!! CHANGE to the day and time of the Livestream Mass from St Mark’s church.

The weekly Livestream Mass from St Mark’s church will continue as a service to those who cannot get to Mass for various reasons. However, this Mass will now be livestreamed on Saturdays at 4pm as from Saturday 11th July and not on Sunday at 11am. Please spread the news about this change, especially to those who may not use email or have limited access to the internet and look forward to the livestreamed Mass.

Returning to normal? Jane Gonzalez writes…

Most of us will be eager for normal service to be resumed in our parishes – Sunday Mass, Mass during the week, the church open for prayer etc.  But do we just want that kind of normal?  The experience of lockdown has made me both cherish the Eucharist but also to recognise more fully than ever the presence of Jesus in so many other ways.  ‘The faithful do not live by Mass alone’ (Raniero Cantalamessa) and ‘Jesus is not bound by his sacrament’ (John Farrell OP).  Have we the courage to live the Eucharist in our response to the poor and suffering as Pope Francis asks us?  Has Mass become a routine pious practice for us?  How can the celebration of the liturgy really and truly reflect the diverse nature of the congregation who gather?  There are many questions to be answered and the gradual reopening of our sacred spaces should provide us with space to ponder.  This is a Kairos moment for the Church and world.  Let us not miss it.

Year of the Word

Though we are unable to share the Eucharist together, we can still feast on the Word of the Lord! Why not read a little of the Mass readings for the week ahead and see how the Spirit uses the words to speak to your heart? Get your Bible out! Gospel readings from the daily masses for this week, beginning Monday July 6th Mon. Matthew 9: 18-26 Tues. Matt. 9: 32-38 Wed. Matt. 10:1-7 Thurs. Matt. 10:7-15 Fri. Matt. 10: 16-23 Sat. Matt.10:24-33 Sunday (15th Sunday of the Year) Matt. 13:1-2

Church Opening times for private prayer next week.

Our Boxmoor church will be open for private prayer this coming week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, between 2-4pm. Thank you to all who have volunteered to assist with stewarding. Stewards are asked to read the file on the Stewards’ Desk and sign in. I am always available on 01442 391759 for any Steward queries at the time of their shift. Just call! 

Mass Intentions.

If you would like a Mass offered for a deceased family member or a friend, or indeed for any other intention, do let Shirley Bailey know by emailing her : shirleybailey@rcdow.org.uk or calling her on  01442 391 759. It is customary to make an offering. The diocese recommends £10. However, I am not expecting an offering and it can be made at your discretion, if you would like to associate yourself in this way with the Mass.

God Bless Us All!

Fr Brian
Parish Priest
Parish of Hemel West, Hemel Hempstead.